“Dear Dee…” Today: I can’t work in the family business! I have to talk about what’s bothering me….

by Donna Rustigian Mac, “Dear Dee…” Advice Columnist

Here’s your communication and relationship advice for the week!

Dear Dee – Episode 16

Well hello—it’s Dee…with your communication advice for the week…so you can speak your truth, be clear, forthright and influential. Let’s create healthy human connections….and trusted relationships in your personal and professional life.  

Listen to my advice, by clicking on this audio – or read it, below!

Dear Dee,

My family has had a business for generations. My dad has been setting me up to take it over once I graduate from college. The closer I get to graduating the more I realize that isn’t what I want to do. How can I communicate with my father that I want to explore my own path without him hating me for it?

Owen, the Good Son

Dear Owen,

I have a feeling your dad will not “hate” you as you make this decision but, he might be “super” disappointed. Regardless, if he’s planning to make you part of his business plan, the time to talk with your father is now.

Whether working in the family business or not, typically, parents want to make sure their kids are economically self-sufficient when they get out of school and they’re ready to go out on their own. So, as you get ready for your talk with your dad, think about what you are going to tell him.

Preparing for this will give you a good opportunity to make a checklist. Will you have a job and earn a decent wage? Will you be doing something that brings in money AND an provides you an opportunity to grow?

Honesty is key so don’t be afraid of your dad. When you begin the conversation tell him you’ve been thinking of the wisest course of action and you are clear working elsewhere is the best thing to do.

Having a real, adult conversations with your dad while in disagreement with him won’t be easy… so hang in there. Completing college is a major time of transition and it can be stressful for everyone as kids get ready to “fly” and take off on their own. Who knows after a few years on your own, you may want to join your dad in business. But now’s the time to fortify and learn how to trust yourself and your intuition.

Dear Dee,

What are some ways to talk about problems or things you’re keeping inside?

Eva (I’m a teenage girl and this is not my real name)

Dear Eva,

Well, the best way is to stop, listen to yourself…and get clear on what those problems are. One way to do that is to begin writing them down or start journaling. Then read back what you wrote. This is what we call communicating with yourself.

Very often problems come our way because there’s something we have to figure out. I’m so glad you wrote because talking about problems and getting them out is really important to our health. Once you get them down on paper, maybe you can share them with someone in your family…or a friend…and there’s always nurses or counselors at school.

Eva, I’m proud that you want to get your problems out…hang in there because figuring out your problems and talking about them isn’t easy. But it’s so much better than keeping them inside or trying to make them go away by distracting yourself with something like drugs, alcohol, smoking or even your cell phone.

Finally, I want to tell you that everyone has problems…some bigger than others. But it sounds like by asking this question, you’re getting closer to your solutions. This might be stressful, but the good news is “where you have your greatest stress is usually where you have your greatest opportunities for growth”.

Dear Dee is published every week. To send your “Dear Dee,” question – in complete confidence – just email: – Put “Dear Dee” in the subject line. Please keep your information private in not identifying specific people – and sign your note with your initials or as you would like it to appear – such as “Perplexed in Providence”.

This is Dee, creating healthy human connections through high level effective communication. You can find me at That’s the letter i…Voice